Designed for HI-Fi Living: The Vinyl LP in Midcentury america
Now in paperback, makes a great gift!
“One of the smartest books we've ever seen on album cover art – a lavish full color volume that not only presents loads of classic images, but also has plenty to say about them as well!” –Dusty Groove Records, Chicago
Designed for Hi-Fi Living was published by MIT Press in 2017. It is priced at $22.95 for the paperback edition, and can be found online for less. Here is a brief selection of LP covers from the book. We describe each one to tell a story of postwar America.
Offering a fascinating glimpse into the postwar imagination, the first part, “Home,” explores how the American home entered the frontlines of Cold War debates and became an entertainment zone—a place to play music, mix drinks, and impress guests with displays of good taste. The second part, “Away,” considers albums featuring music, pictures, and tourist information that prepared Americans for the jet age as well as the space race.
“This extraordinary and brilliantly curated book reveals how the tropes of cultured living were disseminated through the universal medium of music decades before the era of ‘designer pop’. Revisionary and essential.” —Peter Saville, artist and designer; founder and art director of Factory Records; author of Designed by Peter Saville
“What Walter Benjamin is to the Parisian arcades of the nineteenth century, Borgerson and Schroeder are to the midcentury American living room. Through the magical window of the LP cover they let us rediscover the phantasmagorias of postwar America. I love this book.” —Daniel Birnbaum, Director of Moderna Museet, Stockholm; contributing editor of Artforum
“Exploring the secret life of records, Borgerson and Schroeder comb the discarded and recovered bins of thrift-store vinyl for clues to a hidden agenda. At once hilarious and penetrating, their astute observations and thoughtful groupings cut across genre, label, and designer to reveal uncanny continuities that link jazz, rock, easy listening, self-help, exotica, folkloric, and other impossible to pin-down modalities in an eye-popping slide show of the mid-century American imaginary.” —John Corbett, writer and curator; author of Vinyl Freak: Love Letters to a Dying Medium and A Listener’s Guide to Free Improvisation